Community tourism, another view of Medellín
Much is said about Medellín today in the world, it’s capacity for resilience, its innovative vocation, and the impetus with which in a few years, it was transformed socially and urbanistically. But there is also talk of the burden left by her history of violence and that is amplified by series and narco-soap operas that are broadcast throughout the world; In contrast, thousands of tourists come to discover this charming and enigmatic city fascinated for one reason or another.
But far from that more conventional type of tourism, Medellín and its contrasts offer another view of the city, that of Community Tourism, which is born through an organized community that carries out different experiences in its own territory and that participates, gets involved and benefits from the tourism production chain.
Join us on this tour of Medellín and the region to discover those charming places that ensure a more authentic experience, that positively impact their communities, and that promote sustainable and responsible tourism.
Moravia neighborhood, from the municipal garbage dump to flower garden
In Aranjuez (northeast of the city), the Moravia neighborhood is inhabited by a community traditionally made up of displaced families who built their homes in the old municipal garbage dump, today transformed into one of the largest flower gardens in the city.
One of the most fascinating characteristics of the Moravia neighborhood is the commitment of its social leaders to generate a type of Community Tourism that allows the resources generated by this economic activity to remain among the inhabitants of the neighborhood to improve the opportunities and quality of life of those who they live there.
According to Ángela María Holguín Ramírez, co-creator of the Moravia Tours Community Tourism proposal, in the streets of the neighborhood, for example, it is possible to distinguish foreigners who live there and who lead activities such as teaching languages to children through volunteering and youth, yoga, healthy eating; among others, and which are coordinated by the Moravian Cultural Development Center.
A center that welcomes artistic expressions of all kinds for the creation, experimentation, and discovery of the talents of the community, which is also characterized by a wide cultural diversity that is manifested in rural and traditional expressions, artistic practices, neighborhood memories, and afro culture.
Rural Community Tourism in Medellín
Located in the township of Santa Elena, a rural area of Medellín; Arví Park is the only natural park in Colombia that has the Rainforest Alliance certification in Sustainable Tourism, which recognizes good environmental practices as well as the commitment to local cultures. Commitment that is expressed in the Rural Community Tourism strategies of the Arví Park in which it actively involves the community.
Strategies such as the Arví Market, which is a space with more than 40 stalls during the weekends and a permanent display of ten productive units during the week, in which peasants, micro-entrepreneurs, and inhabitants of the territory offer and market handicrafts, processed food, and typical agricultural products of the region.
In this process, the Arví Park works hand in hand with organizations from the Santa Elena township that have improved their quality of life and have had socio-business growth thanks to the coordinated work for the sustainability of the territory.
Townships of Medellín
71% of the territory of Medellín is rural and there are the five townships of the city (Santa Elena, San Antonio de Prado, San Sebastián de Palmitas, San Cristóbal, and Altavista) through which many activities can be carried out, nature tourism and rural community tourism such as hiking and bird watching.
The different territories are extensive in heights, hills, and viewpoints, from which the urban landscape of Medellín can be appreciated; discover the charm of the silletera culture or enjoy the peasant farms that, among native flower crops, orchards, and land crops, provide agrotourism services in their territories, from where it is possible to feel the essence of the countryside a few minutes from the city.
Sustainable Tourism at the Hotel Cannua in Marinilla
Another great example among the new ventures that are increasingly gaining momentum in the region due to their commitment to promoting Sustainable Tourism, is the Cannua Hotel in the municipality of Marnilla, in eastern Antioquia.
The Cannua Hotel, in addition to using the products of the garden that are grown in its territory to offer food to its visitors, is located in nine hectares of protected forest and its design was thought under a system of agricultural design principles that ensures the conservation of the natural ecosystem through construction that uses compressed earth blocks produced from 80 tons of its own soil and a system for the reuse of gray water.
Promoting Community Tourism allows many historically marginalized populations such as rural communities, to find in this economic activity a vehicle for integration, empowerment, and income generation.